Wherever They Will

First published as the introduction to Eyeball Kick, an ebook collection of “hydrogen jukebox” poems published by Bones in June of 2020. View the free PDF. See also “Wherever You Will: Introduction to Retina Splash and “Courting the Eyeball Kick: A Short History of Suns and Moons.”       +

        “The advantage of the incomprehensible is that it never loses its freshness.” —Paul Valéry

Each short poem in this collection presents
a disjunction in the manner of what Allen Ginsberg conceptualized in the phrase hydrogen jukebox—originally from Howl, and later an opera by Ginsberg and Philip Glass. It’s a deliberate compression of two disparate and unexpected elements—low and high, common and uncommon—in this case to the point of surrealism, designed to produce what Ginsberg called an eyeball kick, or a double-take. It may well relate to Bashō’s aesthetic ideal of kōgo kizoku, or “awakening to the high, returning to the low.” I extend this idea into a sequence of poems (although the order may not matter) where the repeated phrase begins to act like a mantra. My poems written on the “seven suns” and “neon buddha” themes, and other sequences, spring from a similar impulse. Perhaps the present poems are more surreal, and less of a personal mythology. You are welcome to let them take you wherever they will.

        Michael Dylan Welch
        Sammamish, Washington